Friday, August 26, 2016

It is Not Good to Be Alone

Picture Book: Mouse Island
Author: Eve Bunting
Illustrator: Dominic Catalano 
Summary: Mouse lives alone on an island with a lighthouse that has been electrified so human operators are no longer needed. 
He is safe and comfortable, but he feels that something is missing in his life. He interacts with animals that come and go, but he is lonely. 
When Mouse sees a ship sink, he jumps into the water to help save the passengers. The humans on the ship are able to get into a lifeboat, but Cat is left in the water. 
Mouse drags Cat to shore. Once revived, Cat explains to Mouse that cats eat mice.
Mouse is stunned, but Cat reassures him that Cat will never eat Mouse. Instead, Cat wants to hear about his new home.
They begin teaching each other about their lives. Cat promises to teach Mouse to play beach volleyball. The book ends with Mouse contemplating how strange it is to find what you didn’t realize you needed.
Hanna’s Comments: Be sure to show the illustration on the title page before reading. 
It gives some perspective, showing the island and Cat before the shipwreck. The central message of this book is subtle so you may need to help your audience find meaning. Mouse needs loving companionship. Then a companion is provided by unusual circumstances. God does that sometime. Genesis 2 says we are not meant to be alone. Even though Cat is an enemy according to the world, Mouse sees Cat as a creature to save, befriend, and share the island, despite their differences. The lighthouse can be viewed as God’s light or Jesus. Lastly, you might want to discuss with your children how sometimes heroes are quite small.
Original Publisher & Date: Boyds Mills Press, 2008
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 5 and up, K and up
Formats other than Book: None at present
Scripture Connections: It is not good for the man to be alone (Genesis 2:18); love your enemies (Luke 6:27); all things work together for good (Romans 8:28)
Idea(s) for Application: Consider reading this story as part of a lesson for children about the importance of close relationships, the concept of enemies and how to treat them, or God’s wise provision.